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Its very rare that a childrens book comes along that appeals to both children and adults and which can be read at bed time without enducing high levels of excitement but this is one of those gems.
Anyone who has not yet been introduced to Virginia Millers simplistic line drawings of Bartholomew Bear is really missing out. The bold muted colours and lack of detail make them perfect for sleepy children as they are content to listen to the text without paying a huge amount of attention to the pictures. The words are soothing with an element of rhyme, repetative and catchy in a tv advert jingle kind of way. After you've read it a few times you'll know the words off by heart and they'll stay with you and your child for years and years.
Bartholomew is a wonderful character who is cheeky but lovable all rolled into one. The story tells of his introduction to potty training, his obvious dislike of it, the associated boredom and most importantly his relationship with his father. Its one of those of books that every child should own and every parent should have the pleasure of reading with thier child. Its also superbly well illustrated with enough information to enable a child to folow the story without needing to read the text making it agreat book for toddlers to enjoy by themselves too.
Bartholomew "Ba" Bear, a bear of few words, most of them "nah", features in a range of Virginia Millers books including Eat your Dinner, Be Gentle, Go to Bed and I love you just the way you are.
Available in paperback, hardback and toddler friendly board books.
My youngest daughter is 20 months and whilst we are no where near ready for potty training just yet, I decided it can't hurt to be prepared so we can hopefully glide into it easily between us.
I read a review of On Your Potty and the reviewer praised the book so much, I knew it was going to be my first potty book of choice. On Your Potty is available as both a board book and a paper back. We have the paperback version because the board book is harder to come across for some reason. I have to be more careful around my excitable toddler when we are reading it to preserve the pages until we have finished with the book for its main need; however it's such a loveable book I have a feeling we'll be keeping it long after the potty training has finished.
On Your Potty tells the story of Bartholomew who is in the process of learning to use his potty. He knows what to do but he doesn't seem to want to use it. In fact he doesn't seem to want to do a lot, as when George asks Bartholomew any question he always answers with the one word of "Nah".
The book spans over about 25 pages, and through the short storyline there is a lot of different emotions coming out, including the praise from the grown up bear as well as the frustrations I remember happening the first time around with potty training.
Little Bartholomew comes across as a little scamp and very stubborn. He isn't that different from my darling little girl when I think about it. Bartholomew insists he doesn't need to use the potty the whole way through the book, and even when he is made to sit on the potty he can't do anything. It's only when he knows he's ready to use the potty that it works for him and he is able to do what he needs to do.
I like the fact that this book doesn't go into the ins and outs of what is done on a potty like some literature does. That is for the parents or guardians to choose the slang words that they will use for their children when doing their business, not for a book to determine those words.
On Your Potty doesn't need to do this because it spends more time focusing on Bartholomew rather than why you should use the potty.
The book seems to be over before it has begun, and this is widely due to the lack of writing available in the book. The words are short and this helps get the message across to young children I hope. All Bartholomew wants to do is play, not worry about his potty, and realistically the author has this down to a tee as most children just want to be having fun.
As we have spent weeks now reading this at different times, I have noticed that Abby can associate the potty we have in the lounge with the book and I'm hoping by reading this book when she wants to will encourage her to understand what the potty is for in a really on descript way, without having to make her feel scared about using it.
So far she has inspected her own potty but not attempted to want to go too near it, but that was one of my reasons for such forward planning with this book so it wasn't a rush when the time comes.
I will leave this book in my daughter's book box and encourage her to read it more and more if she loses interest in it.
As a parent I think it's a great idea to have this book to read about potty training and the differing behaviours that can come from children when attempting to potty train.
It has taught me a big thing in that potty training will happen when and only when the child is ready and not before. I believe that is the moral of this story, although it doesn't say that anywhere in the book.
The only down side to this book is the fact that Bartholomew says "Nah" a lot. I do worry that when Abby learns to talk more and more, she will pick up on this and I really will have a little Bartholomew on my hands.
I thoroughly recommend this book to any parent coming up to the potty training stage as for both entertainment and educational value this book has done wonders for me and my daughter.
Author: Virginia Miller
Very rarely does a phrase or saying from a book stay with you for life - so when it does, it is surely a sign that the book in question was one that was much loved in the past.
On your Potty by Virginia Miller is "that" book for my daughter (now aged 14!). Bought by us, for her, when she was 2, and we were trying to potty train her, this children's story tells the tale of a bear called Bartholemew, and his dad George.
Daddy bear George is going through what all parents go through - the frustrations of trying to potty train a child that doesn't want to play the game.......and Bartholemew is that child that has got better things to do than to come and try the potty......
Every time Daddy suggests that Bartholemew tries the potty, the response is "Nah" - typical of a 2 year old in my humble experience.......Bartholemew then throws his best 2 year old's strop and the words "Nah" become more frequent.......
Frustrating though it is, like all parents trying to potty train their little darling, George persists, trying to persuade Bartholemew to try the potty. Bartholemew, however has his own ideas and is much happier running around doing much more exciting things.....
......and then, success. Bartholemew realises he needs the potty and runs to reach it, sitting down just in time. Hurrah!!!
Like every proud parent at moments like this, George piles on the praise, and gives Bartholemew a great big HUG!...
It is the hug that has stayed with my Daughter - and we now refer to a big bear hug as being a "George Hug", and long may it stay that way.
This book is a lovely one to read together - with your little one more than happy to say the words "Nah" at the right time - role play at its earliest!
The illustrations, drawn by the author are a delight, and the colours are lovely and bright, without being garish.
Our version of the book was so well loved that it fell apart - and my daughter, now aged 14, still says that she wishes she still had it on her book shelf, even if she is too old to read it now......that to me tells me what a good book is all about, and I am sure it is one she will hunt out for her own children when the time is right.
Other books in the series include such titles as:
Get into bed
Eat your dinner
I love you
All titles that generations of parents, past present and future, can relate to, I'm sure!
Based on the joy it gave to my daughter, I would not hesitate to recommend this book for anyone trying to potty train their little one.
New, this book retails at about £4.99 but you can get used copies on Amazon for just 1p plus P&P.
ISBN - 978-0744575583
22 pages long
Published in 1991, just at the right time for both my eldest children to enjoy when they were being potty trained.
The story centres around Bartholemew, a little bear who can sometimes be very good, and sometimes be a tad reluctant!
It starts with George, the big bear, padding softly to Bartholomew's bed to see if he is awake. Wheh he askes if he is awake, he is greeted with a "Nah!"
Bah gets out of be but when George askes him if he is up, again, he gets the "Nah".
Children get a bit concerned by the fact that Bah is just refusing to do things, and especially because of the way he says it, and I think they believe there will be trouble ahead!
Again, when Bah is asked if he wants his potty, the answer is the same, until "Nah, nah, nah", and he begins to kick the potty around the room. George shouts at this stage to tell him to get "ON YOUR POTTY" and even Bah looks a bit worried, so he sits on his potty and really really tries, but nothing happens.
george, being the pleasant bear he is, looks concerned but tells him to go and play outside, which Bah does, answering the request that he be good with the usual "nah".
Bah is playing outside when he suddenly thinks about the potty, and he runs as fast as he can, and reaches his potty just in time, to be given a big hug from George.
The illustarations are great. Bah has this really sullen little expression on his face, and it seems he is going to be up to no good at all.
The bears both look soft and cuddly, especially George who just looks the picture of concern and adoration.
Throughout the book, the facial expressions tell the story for us, with bah being the surly child, george the concerned parent, but when Bah is running for his potty, boy does he run! We knopw he is going quickly because the pictures are no longer double page spreads but are suddenly smaller pictures spread out over two pages. the expression on his face when he gets to the potty in the nick of time is pure relief.
PRICE, AVAILABILITY AND OTHER INFORMATION
A real bargain- pick it up used from amazon from 1p!
Published in 2000, my copy is by Walker books, ISBN 0-7445-3141-1
The story is also available in a book with 5 stories all contained in one book
OTHER BOOKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR
There are lots of books featuring George and Batrtholomew, usually with a theme...
Get into Bed
In a Minute
WHAT I THOUGHT
Although I don't like the way Bah shouts "nah" all the time, this adds to the appeal of the book, and indiactes in alot of ways how children and parents and carers interact.
Bah is a totally lovable little bear, and if you read some of the other books, he is not always this recalcitrant- sometimes he is very very good!
My two eldest children loved this book, especially when they were being potty trained as it is a perfect observation of life with a toddler, and it appealed to them because they were familiar with the theme.
the pictures are excellent, and just seem to flow, with minimum text needed, and life given to the characters with speech bubbles. When George is shouting, the text goes huge ,a nd when Bah speks in a tiny voice, the text is small. This begins to give children an idea that text has meaning.
A great book for your bookshelf, especially if you have a toddler.
Thanks for reading
On Your Potty! is an board book for toddlers by Virginia Miller, illustrator of Get Into Bed!. Miller's illustrations in On Your Potty! are tremendously cute and engaging through her use of bold, free-style pencil strokes set against a background of cartoon-like simplicity and characters who have well-observed and expressive faces and posture. The equally simple text is written in a way perfect for reading aloud, with lots of opportunity for characterisation on the part of the reader, and suspenseful pauses--just how will the forgetful Bartholomew make it to his potty in time? He ran ... and he ran ... as fast as he could ... and reached his potty ... just ... in ... time. This is accompanied by a hilarious view of the little bear with a palpable expression of relief on his face, complete with a speech-bubble aaahh, which will have both the reader and listener in fits of giggles.